Israel plans to halt international flights amid pandemic

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the first Cabinet meeting of the new government at the Chagall Hall in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament in Jerusalem, Israel, Sunday, May 24, 2020.

Israel has planned to halt international flights as part of a full nationwide shutdown starting next week due to an increase in the Covid-19 morbidity rate, the media reported.

In a report Hebrew-language news website “Ynet” on Friday, a senior official in the Ministry of Health was quoted as saying that “the closure means that there is no entry to Israel and no exit.”

Israel Airports Authority (IAA) spokesman Ofer Lefler told Xinhua that the IAA is not currently preparing for halting flights, as since the country’s pandemic outbreak in late February, Ben Gurion Airport has not been totally closed.

He added that the IAA will address the issue and update only after receiving an order from the government.

Israel officially resumed international flights on August 16 and declared that travellers from 30 countries were not required to enter 14-day quarantine.

On Thursday night, the Prime Minister’s Office and Health Ministry announced in a statement that the Corona Cabinet had decided to impose the full closure due to morbidity rise.

The start date of the closure will be decided by the government at its meeting on Sunday.

It will be the first in a three-stage plan aimed to lower the morbidity data.

The closure is supposed to include the upcoming period of Jewish holidays, between the Jewish New Year’s Eve on September 18 and October 10.

According to the statement, the second and third stages will take effect only after the morbidity rate decreases.

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